Within the scope of the program initiated by the Swiss-based Alpine Rangeland Protection Organization (Oppal), a non-governmental organization (NGO), approximately 400 people volunteered to protect the sheep and prevent wolves that could attack the herd.
“Our goal is to ensure that both the sheep and the wolves are alive by the end of the summer season,” Jeremie Moulin, Oppal’s director, told French news agency AFP.
Moulin said that the NGO, which they established three years ago to ensure the balance between wildlife and human activities, wanted to find solutions to the problems caused by the increasing wolf population in the country with this project.
Participating in Oppal’s project, Francois Mach-Buhayer stated that they protect sheep and wolves by establishing 5-day camps at different points in the Swiss Alps.
60-year-old cardiologist, “This job requires two people. One observes the wolf with binoculars, the other runs towards the animal with a flashlight and whistle,” said.
The 57-year-old biologist stated that he and his wife work in turns at night and said that they took care of about 480 sheep last week.
Shepherd Mathis von Siebenthal stated that Oppal’s project provided him with great convenience. “Now I can sleep well at night,” the 36-year-old shepherd said.
The number of wolf packs that went extinct in Switzerland at least 100 years ago has been increasing since 2012. At the beginning of this year, nearly 250 wolves were spotted in various parts of the Swiss Alps.
Nature conservation groups consider this a positive development, noting that the return of the wolf population will make the ecosystem healthier. However, breeders and shepherds also complain about the increase in attacks on farm animals. At least 1,480 livestock were killed by wolves in the country last year.
The Bern administration then relaxed the rules on hunting wolves last year, and decided to keep 4 herds under control and kill 24 wolves.